UFC middleweight Cung Le (pictured) has fought the system, and won. Less than a month after suspending Le one year after discovering human growth hormone (hGH) in his system in August’s TKO defeat to Michael Bisping, the UFC has rescinded Le’s ban.
“At UFC Fight Night Macao on August 23rd, UFC contracted with an independent drug testing laboratory in Hong Kong to perform urinalysis testing on all fighters on the card,” the UFC expressed in Tuesday’s statement. “Additionally, UFC requested the laboratory to test blood samples from 4 fighters for human growth hormone (HGH), erythropoietin (EPO) and testosterone.
“One of the athletes who had his blood tested was Cung Le. The laboratory results from Le’s blood test were sent to the UFC and showed that his blood had a total HGH level outside the reference range. Based on such results, UFC officials determined that Le had violated his promotional agreement and the UFC Fighter Conduct Policy. Consequently, UFC decided that Le should be suspended from unarmed combat competition for 12 months.
“Following the announcement of Le’s suspension, UFC officials have been provided with medical advice regarding the elevated total HGH present in Le’s system. In accordance with such medical advice, UFC has determined that Le’s elevated total HGH by itself does not prove that he took performance-enhancing drugs before the August 23rd bout. As a result, UFC has informed Le that his suspension is rescinded.”
Because the bout took place in China where there’s no governing body for MMA, the UFC sanctioned the event. They hired a third-party company to collect blood and urine samples to conduct the drug screenings.
The UFC was initially only going to request urine samples, but after Bisping requested extensive exams on fight week after seeing Le’s rebuilt frame, the UFC decided to foot the bill for blood tests. “The Count” didn’t flat out accuse of the 42-year-old of juicing, but he wasn’t shy about wanting to ensure the playing field was level based on Le’s now-chiseled frame.
Le issued a statement of innocence shortly after the UFC reported his flunked drug test for hGH, questioning the testing procedure the Hong Kong lab the UFC hired to run the exam.
Because the blood testing was requested at the last minute, the UFC was unable to submit them to one of the 32 labs certified by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), the premier organization for hGH testing in sports.
Le was planning to appeal the UFC’s yearlong suspension, but now he won’t have to take his bosses to court in order to clear his name as they have done so on their own accord.